by Mary Girsch-Bock –
With one winter storm already recorded in the books; there’s no doubt that it’s getting cold. Today in the desert southwest it’s a balmy 27 degrees. Even a sub-tropical paradise is no longer immune to the effects of a winter storm. In a typical season, winter storms can wreak havoc, causing billions of dollars in damages. While not every region in the U.S. will bear the brunt of a major winter storm, we’re all vulnerable to freezing temperatures, brutal, hurricane force winds, and freak blizzards.
If your region typically sees a storm or two during the winter (think Midwest) you’re probably already doing most of the prep tips listed below. It’s much more difficult to prepare for a potentially catastrophic storm when you’re in a region in the U.S. not typically affected. Regardless of where your properties are located, the following advice can help you to be prepared – just in case that big storm makes a bid for your vicinity.
- Check and maintain an adequate supply of snow and ice removal tools. This includes salt or sand for melting ice, snow shovels, and possibly a snow blower to remove large amounts of snow.
- In case of a power or gas outage, you should be prepared with flashlights, bottled water, and blankets as well.
- Keep an extra stockpile of those supplies in case a tenant needs them. A warm blanket can go a long way toward making a miserable night a little bit better.
- Check your properties for loose or low-hanging tree branches. Gusty winds or ice build-up can cause loose branches to fall, presenting a hazard to both tenants and employees.
- Keep an eye out for loose roof tiles or faulty furnaces. While this should be a part of your annual winter inspection, it’s imperative that these items continue to function property throughout the winter months. Heavy snow build up can quickly lead to damaging leaks in a unit, and you certainly don’t want a furnace to stop working during a winter storm.
- Make sure that tenants have removed any potential hazardous items from their patio or balcony. A chair can quickly become airborne in 40 mph winds, creating a potential hazard to those in the area.
- Stay on top of the situation. With 24-hour weather available via television and the Internet, it’s easily than ever to track storms and their potential to hit your properties.
While nothing can prevent a winter storm from hitting your area, being prepared can go a long way toward lessening the impact of the storm, and returning to business as usual, sooner rather than later.